Born on January 31, 1673 to a poor family, St. Louis de Montfort had an early devotion to those who were less fortunate than others. At only age 12, he entered the Jesuit College of St Thomas Becket in Rennes where his uncle was a parish priest. It was at this college that Louis began to develop his devotion to Mary and desire to preach through the teachings of other priests. Through a chain of events, Louis de Montfort entered the French school of spirituality, Little Saint-Sulpice. Here Louis became the librarian, which gave him an opportunity to study most of the available works on spirituality and the Virgin Mary. St. Louis de Montfort was ordained in June of 1700 and was immediately frustrated with his first assignment because of the lack of preaching opportunities. Louis was so frustrated with the local bishops that he went all the way to Rome to meet with the pope.
Pope Clement XI recognized his real vocation of preaching and sent Louis back to France with the title Apostolic Missionary. As his reputation grew, Louis became known as “the good Father from Montfort.” The next few years were extremely busy for Louis. His preaching missions had him traveling from Brittany to Nantes and he also wrote several books and even composed 20,000 verses of hymns. Louis was a very passionate preacher, which was unsettling to many during his time. This led to Louis being poisoned once which almost killed him. Even after being hospitalized because of the poisoning, Louis de Montfort continued to preach. He eventually died on April 28, 1716; he was a priest for only 16 years.
Soon after his death, there were many reports of miracles happening at the tomb of St. Louis de Montfort. Four miracles were chosen for his canonization and they spanned from 1845 to 1873. All of these miracles were incredible healings. Theses miracles are: the cure of Sr. Emmanuel, Daughter of Wisdom, and her spinal paralysis; Sr. Saint-Lin, Daughter of Wisdom, was healed of her chronic disease of the marrow; 10 year old Reine Mallé, pupil of the Daughters of Wisdom, was cured from her tubercular arthritis in her hip and the dislocation of her right leg; finally, Sr. St-Gabriel, Daughter of Wisdom, was healed of her consumption of the lung (that had been judged fatal), with abdominal cystic tumor and heart disease.
St. Louis de Montfort left an enormous legacy for the church through the religious organization he founded, the Daughters of Wisdom. Here is their mission statement today:
We are called in community to seek and to contemplate Divine Wisdom, present in a world that hungers for meaning, justice and compassion. We seek to bring the message of Jesus, Incarnate Wisdom, to people experiencing injustice, violence, poverty and oppression, especially women and children.
These women carry out St. Louis de Montfort's passion for serving the poor, especially the poor children of the world.
Another major impact the St. Louis made on the world was his writing. His books, True Devotion to Mary and The Secret of the Rosary, have inspired generations of faithful, including several popes. St. John Paul II described St. Louis' True Devotion as a ‘decisive turning point' in his life. St. Louis' Mariology has been cause to start the process of making him a doctor of the Church.
St. Louis de Montfort'motto or “battle cry” was “God alone.” So when he was preaching, what he spoke of came not from him but from ‘God alone.' All the poor that he helped were cared for by ‘God alone.' Everything St. Louis did was for ‘God alone' and by ‘God alone.' This motto was repeated in his writings over 150 times. His spirituality is a role model for how ours should be and it can be summed up as such: “To God Alone, by Christ Wisdom, in the Spirit, in communion with Mary, for the reign of God.”
Using St. Louis de Montfort's outline to spirituality can provide us with the grace of God needed to live a life like the saints, for ‘God alone.”
“If we do not risk anything for God we will never do anything great for Him.” – St. Louis de Montfort.